Zaha buys Design Museum site

Tuesday 09 Jul 2013

Zaha Hadid Architects to 'preserve the significance' of Shad Thames site in London

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is the proud new owner of the Design Museum site at Shad Thames, London. In a deal reported to be worth £10m, ZHA purchased the site from the Conran Foundation as the Design Museum prepares to relocate to the former Commonwealth Institute in west London, redesigned by John Pawson.

When the Design Museum relocates in 2015, it will gain three times more space than that currently on offer at the Shad Thames site at Tower Bridge. Director of the Design Museum Deyan Sudjic commented: “Whilst we are sad to be leaving Shad Thames we are leaving the building in the best possible hands; the sale is a significant moment in the museum’s relocation plans and a substantial contribution towards our new home.”

Proceeds from the sale are to be donated by the Conran Foundation - which funded the building’s original design and construction - to the realisation of the museum’s new home. When the Grade II* listed Commonwealth Institute building opened in 1962 it incorporated an exhibition hall, cinema, workshops and landscaped gardens.

The redevelopment will see a number of exhibition spaces spread across the ground floor with a 200-capacity auditorium and a café, while the first floor encompasses offices and educational facilities. On the top level, visitors will find the museum’s permanent collection and a restaurant.

Speaking to the Architects’ Journal, Zaha Hadid said of the recent acquisition: "The building will give an opportunity to consolidate our archive in a single location and also engage in a collective dialogue by exhibiting the research and innovation of global collaborations in art, architecture and design."

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